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  • Overview

    The TFA obligates Members, to the extent practicable and all regulatory requirements are met, to allow goods indented for import to be moved to customs office where the goods would be released or cleared.

    The movement of goods stipulated in the TFA can be categorized as national transit procedure under the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC). Specific Annex E of the RKC is about Customs transit, which may cover the national transit procedures.

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    WTO TFA

    Each Member shall, to the extent practicable, and provided all regulatory requirements are met, allow goods intended for import to be moved within its territory under customs control from a customs office of entry to another customs office in its territory from where the goods would be released or cleared.

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    Revised kyoto convention

    Specific Annex E - Chapter 1 (Customs Transit)

    Chapters 1 of Specific Annex E to the Revised Kyoto Convention stipulate principles on Customs transit.  It covers national Customs transit, when the transit procedure applies to one country or Customs territory only and the office of departure and the office of destination are in the same territory.

    Principle

    1. Standard

    Customs transit shall be governed by the provisions of this Chapter and, insofar as applicable, by the provisions of the General Annex.

    Field of application

    2. Standard

    The Customs shall allow goods to be transported under Customs transit in their territory :

    (a) from an office of entry to an office of exit;

    (b) from an office of entry to an inland Customs office;

    (c) from an inland Customs office to an office of exit; and

    (d) from one inland Customs office to another inland Customs office.

    3. Standard

    Goods being carried under Customs transit shall not be subject to the payment of duties and taxes, provided the conditions laid down by the Customs are complied with and that any security required has been furnished.

    4. Standard

    National legislation shall specify the persons who shall be responsible to the Customs for compliance with the obligations incurred under Customs transit, in particular for ensuring that the goods are produced intact at the office of destination in accordance with the conditions imposed by the Customs.

    5. Recommended Practice

    The Customs should approve persons as authorized consignors and authorized consignees when they are satisfied that the prescribed conditions laid down by the Customs are met.

    Formalities at the office of departure

    (a) Goods declaration for Customs transit

    6. Standard

    Any commercial or transport document setting out clearly the necessary particulars shall be accepted as the descriptive part of the Goods declaration for Customs transit and this acceptance shall be noted on the document.

    7. Recommended Practice

    The Customs should accept as the Goods declaration for Customs transit any commercial or transport document for the consignment concerned which meets all the Customs requirements. This acceptance should be noted on the document.

    (b) Sealing and identification of consignments

    8. Standard

    The Customs at the office of departure shall take all necessary action to enable the office of destination to identify the consignment and to detect any unauthorized interference.

    9. Recommended Practice

    Subject to the provisions of other international conventions, the Customs should not generally require that transport-units be approved in advance for the transport of goods under Customs seal.

    10. Standard

    When a consignment is conveyed in a transport-unit and Customs sealing is required, the Customs seals shall be affixed to the transport-unit itself provided that the transport-unit is so constructed and equipped that :

    (a) Customs seals can be simply and effectively affixed to it;

    (b) no goods can be removed from or introduced into the sealed part of the transport-unit without leaving visible traces of tampering or without breaking the Customs seal;

    (c) it contains no concealed spaces where goods may be hidden; and

    (d) all spaces capable of holding goods are readily accessible for Customs inspection.

    The Customs shall decide whether transport-units are secure for the purposes of Customs transit.

    11. Recommended Practice

    Where the accompanying documents make it possible unequivocally to identify the goods, the latter should generally be transported without a Customs seal or fastening. However, a Customs seal or fastening may be required :

    - where the Customs office of departure considers it necessary in the light of risk management;

    - where the Customs transit operation will be facilitated as a whole; or

    - where an international agreement so provides.

    12. Standard

    If a consignment is, in principle, to be conveyed under Customs seal and the transport-unit cannot be effectively sealed, identification shall be assured and unauthorized interference rendered readily detectable by :

    - full examination of the goods and recording the results thereof on the transit document;

    - affixing Customs seals or fastenings to individual packages;

    - a precise description of the goods by reference to samples, plans, sketches, photographs, or similar means, to be attached to the transit document;

    - stipulation of a strict routing and strict time limits; or

    - Customs escort.

    The decision to waive sealing of the transport-unit shall, however, be the prerogative of the Customs alone.

    13. Standard

    When the Customs fix a time limit for Customs transit, it shall be sufficient for the purposes of the transit operation.

    14. Recommended Practice

    At the request of the person concerned, and for reasons deemed valid by the Customs, the latter should extend any period initially fixed.

    15. Standard

    Only when they consider such a measure to be indispensable shall the Customs :

    (a) require goods to follow a prescribed itinerary; or

    (b) require goods to be transported under Customs escort.

    Customs seals

    16. Standard

    Customs seals and fastenings used in the application of Customs transit shall fulfil the minimum requirements laid down in the Appendix to this Chapter.

    17. Recommended Practice

    Customs seals and identification marks affixed by foreign Customs should be accepted for the purposes of the Customs transit operation unless :

    - they are considered not to be sufficient;

    - they are not secure; or

    - the Customs proceed to an examination of the goods.

    When foreign Customs seals and fastenings have been accepted in a Customs territory, they should be afforded the same legal protection in that territory as national seals and fastenings.

    18. Recommended Practice

    Where the Customs offices concerned check the Customs seals and fastenings or examine the goods, they should record the results on the transit document.

    Formalities en route

    19. Standard

    A change in the office of destination shall be accepted without prior notification except where the Customs have specified that prior approval is necessary.

    20. Standard

    Transfer of the goods from one means of transport to another shall be allowed without Customs authorization, provided that any Customs seals or fastenings are not broken or interfered with.

    21. Recommended Practice

    The Customs should allow goods to be transported under Customs transit in a transport-unit carrying other goods at the same time, provided that they are satisfied that the goods under Customs transit can be identified and the other Customs requirements will be met.

    22. Recommended Practice

    The Customs should require the person concerned to report accidents or other unforeseen events directly affecting the Customs transit operation promptly to the nearest Customs office or other competent authorities.

    Termination of Customs transit

    23. Standard

    National legislation shall not, in respect of the termination of a Customs transit operation, require more than that the goods and the relevant Goods declaration be presented at the office of destination within any time limit fixed, without the goods having undergone any change and without having been used, and with Customs seals, fastenings or identification marks intact.

    24. Standard

    As soon as the goods are under its control, the office of destination shall arrange without delay for the termination of the Customs transit operation after having satisfied itself that all conditions have been met.

    25. Recommended Practice

    Failure to follow a prescribed itinerary or to comply with a prescribed time limit should not entail the collection of any duties and taxes potentially chargeable, provided the Customs are satisfied that all other requirements have been met.

    RKC Guidelines on RKC Specific Annex E - Chapter 1  (download)

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    Other WCO Tools

    Transit Handbook (download)

    The WCO Transit Handbook deals with various aspects of the operation of Customs transit procedures, and is accordingly intended to serve as a practical guide to assist WCO Members to develop a functional and effective transit system which may contribute to the enhancement of economic competitiveness and secure their revenue. In particular, this Handbook helps developing and least-developed Members to assess the effectiveness of their transit schemes and identify any further improvements needed.

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    Members Practices

    Transit Handbook introduces Members’ innovative practices on transit (download)

    Customs Transit Procedures in the European Union (General Features) (Presentation at the PTC in November 2013) (download)

    Customs Transit Procedures in the European Union (Operation of Union & Common Transit procedures) (Presentation at the PTC in November 2013) (download)

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    Performance Indicators

    Yes/No Question

    • Do you allow goods intended for import to be moved under Customs control from a Customs office of entry to another Customs office?

     

    Quantitative indicators

    • No. of cases involving the movement of goods under Customs control intended for import, per year

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